Project Description

2018-2019 UNDERWATER WORLD by MDM Wholesale

Making its debut early in 2018, German producer MDM Wholesale launched its first Underwater World coin. A three ounce silver coin with an antique finish, it featured a heavily dished reverse face inside a border, which was filled with a translucent blue enamel. Struck to an impressive level of ultra high relief, each coin depicts a sea creature not only under the enamel, but also bursting through the surface of it, just as the animal would in reality.

There have been four issues to date at the rate of two per year. A fish, a mammal, and two reptiles point to this being a wide-ranging look at the world under the sea. The use of the clear enamel means that the background field of the reverse face, filled with marine flora, is perfectly visible and helps place the subject in its habitat. The first coin depicted a Great White Shark and did so pretty well, but for us at least, the Sea Turtle coin is the one that lifted this series above others with a similar theme. The following Dolphin and Crocodile issues are decent entrants, but the Turtle remains the best liked here.

Even though the coin weighs in at 93.3 grams (3 troy ounces), the levels of high relief limit the diameter to 50 mm, but that’s certainly big enough to keep everything packed full of great detail. Antique-finished, these are fine examples of coins that, while they’ve undergone modification from their cleanly-struck origins, have done so in a clever and untacky way. Hopefully we’ll see more additions in 2020. An octopus/squid would look pretty cool, we’re sure. Selling for around €250.00 on issue, they are limited to 999 examples of each.

2018 GREAT WHITE SHARK

One of the most impressive of living creatures, the Great White Shark is an apex predator found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans and has no natural predators other than the Orca (Killer Whale). Mainly known for its size, mature individuals have been recorded growing up to 6.4 m (21 ft) in length, although reports have been published of great white sharks measuring over 8 m (26 ft), and 3,324 kg (7,328 lb) in weight.

The shark reaches maturity around 15 years of age and was previously believed to have a life span of over 30 years. The true lifespan of great white sharks is far longer; now estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fish currently known. Great white sharks can accelerate to speeds that exceed 56 km/h (35 mph).

2018 SEA TURTLE

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is acknowledged to be the leading artist in Art Nouveau in the USA. Being fascinated with antique glassware colour appearance and style he undertook intensive studies in glass manufacturing. He founded in 1879 the Tiffany Glass and Decoration Company and invented a special coloured glass, semi-opaque and with metallic effects. This patented manufacturing process merges semi melted glass sheets with either a mix of Silver chloride, or peroxide of tin, or bone ashes or other substances.

He was famous as a glass artist and well known for his unique creations; for example, combinations of unusual materials of glass, ceramic and bronze, lamp shades with geometric and floral designs, motive windows in Churches. His art work enjoyed a revival in 1961 as a result of the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’, the name of his jewellery store in New York. In the late 90’s Tiffany lamp shades fetched US$2m at auction.

2019 DOLPHIN

The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), or Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, is the most well-known species from the family Delphinidae. The common bottlenose dolphin is the largest species of the beaked dolphins. They inhabit temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world, and are absent only from polar waters. Until recently, all bottlenose dolphins were considered as a single species, but now the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin and Burrunan dolphin have been split from the common bottlenose dolphin. As considerable genetic variation has been described among members of this species, even between neighbouring populations, many experts consider that additional species may be recognized.

The common bottlenose dolphin is grey in color and may be between 2 and 4 m long, and weighs between 150 and 650 kg. Males are generally larger and heavier than females. They can live as long as 40–50 years. Sexual maturity varies by population, and ranges from 5–14 years of age. Dolphins have a short and well-defined snout that looks like an old-fashioned gin bottle, which is the source for their common name. Their necks are more flexible than other dolphins’ due to five of their seven vertebrae not being fused together as is seen in other dolphin species.

Common bottlenose dolphins live in groups called pods that typically number about 15 individuals, but group size varies from pairs of dolphins to over 100 or even occasionally over 1000 animals for short periods of time. Their diets consist mainly of eels, squid, shrimp and wide variety of fishes, which they do not chew, instead swallowing it whole. Dolphin groups often work as a team to harvest schools of fish, though they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is a form of sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echoes to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks emitted from the blowhole, whistles emitted from nasal sacs below the blowhole, and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water.

The deepest dive ever recorded for a bottlenose dolphin was 300 meters. This was accomplished by Tuffy, a dolphin trained by the US Navy. Nellie, the longest-lived Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in human care, died at age 61 on April 30, 2014. Nellie was born on Feb, 27, 1953 at Marineland.

2019 CROCODILE

The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), also known as saltie, estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest terrestrial and riparian predator in the world. The males of this species can reach sizes of up to 6.7 m  and weigh as much as 2,000 kg. However, an adult male saltwater crocodile is generally between 4.3 and 5.2 m in length and weighs 400–1,000 kg, rarely growing larger. Females are much smaller and often do not surpass 3 m. As its name implies, this crocodile can live in salt water, but usually resides in mangrove swamps, estuaries, deltas, lagoons, and lower stretches of rivers. They have the broadest distribution of any modern crocodile, ranging from the eastern coast of India, throughout most of Southeast Asia, stretching south to northern Australia, and historically ranging as far west as just beyond the eastern coast of Africa and as far east as waters off the coast of Japan.

The saltwater crocodile is a formidable and opportunistic hypercarnivorous “apex” ambush predator capable of taking almost any animal that enters its territory, including fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds and mammals, including other predators. Due to their size and distribution, saltwater crocodiles are the most dangerous extant crocodilian to humans.

COMMON OBVERSE

The centre of the obverse is occupied by the modern coat of arms of Barbados, as adopted by royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth II on 14 February 1966. The coat of arms has a helmet with a national symbol on top, and a shield beneath that is supported by two animals – something common to former British possessions in the Caribbean. The arms were designed by Neville Connell, for many years curator of the Barbados Museum, with artistic assistance by Hilda Ince.

The national symbol found on top of the helmet for Barbados is the fist of a Barbadian holding two stalks of sugar cane, that are crossed to resemble St. Andrew’s Cross. This is representative of the importance of the sugar industry as well as Barbados celebrating its national independence day on St. Andrew’s Day. The shield is gold in colour. Upon it are a pair of the national flower, known as the Pride of Barbados, and a single bearded fig tree (Ficus citrifolia). The shield is supported by a dolphin fish and a pelican. They stand for the fishing industry and Pelican Island, respectively. At the bottom is Barbados’ national motto (“Pride and Industry”) on a scroll.

Surrounding the coat of arms is a wide ring filled with marine wildlife, something generic rather than future subjects for the series. Surrounding that and adjoining the coin edge is another border holding the title and composition inscriptions. All told, an attractive piece and well themed for the subject matter.

PACKAGING

Decent, but unadventurous sums up the presentation. A nice quality wooden box inside a blue shipper does the job, but without any particular flair. A certificate of authenticity is enclosed and it appears to be customised for each issue. This could well be a series that would benefit from a collectors box to hold them all, but with no set issue limit in place at present, we guess that would be hard to do effectively. A large Nimbus frame would be a good alternative if you want to get something together yourself, as this is clearly a series that would display well.

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION $5 Barbados
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Extra High-relief, blue resin
MINTAGE 999
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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